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Video Game History

video game history

Video games have a rich and varied history since the dawn of their creation. 

Early video games were simple and unsophisticated.  These games used simple renderings with minimal colors and required users to complete relatively simple and repetitive tasks. 

With video game evolution, the video game console was introduced which brought video games inside the average American home. 

Video Game History: Timeline & Evolution

The video game timeline includes the introduction of two dimensional and three dimensional video games of a variety of different genres.  Shooter games, strategy games and racing games were all introduced through the lifespan of the video game industry.  Understanding the history of video games including the video game console history and the history of the first video game will help future designers of video games appreciate the great journey of the video game.

Video Game Genres

There are thousands of different video games that have been produced all over the world.  Countries like Japan and China have joined with the United States in becoming some of the leading producers of video games in the entire world.  These video games can often be assigned to several different categories or genres. 

The genres of video games assist video game producers in determining how best to market the video game to ensure the greatest number of sales.  Video game genres include strategy games with puzzles and intellectual tasks, shooter games that boast a hero with an arsenal of weapons, racing games with cars, planes, boats and futuristic automobiles, and sports games featuring real players from some of the best professional sports league teams in the world.

Negative Effects of Video Games

As with anything, too much video game play is never a good thing.  There are negative effects of playing video games too frequently.  Children who play video games in excess are often reported as struggling with childhood obesity and laziness.  By sitting in front of a television for extended periods of time, children are not receiving the aerobic stimulation their body needs to be healthy.  Some experts even believe that prolonged exposure to a television screen can have harmful effects on the human retina. 

Children who play video games late at night will often struggle with insomnia, night terrors, or restless sleep.  These children often struggle in school and perform badly on report cards.  Children who play age-inappropriate video games may also pick up violent or disrespectful habits.

Who Invented Video Games?

Video games did not actually begin as games.  With the invention of the computer, governments used light displays produced by supercomputers to design military defense programs.  Operators of these programs realized that these displays could be manipulated into a fun and engaging activity for the average person. 

Early video games were simply unique displays of light and sound that could be controlled by the person operating the video game.  Later, computer programmers created video games with a mission or activity that could be completed for points. 

Top 10 Video Games

There have been tens of thousands of video games created since the late 1960s.  Many of these video games simply relied on the innovations of their predecessors for commercial success.  However, several video games created their own innovations, dramatically changing the video game world with new technology, new perspectives, and new ideas.  Some of these video games have had a lasting effect on how modern video games are designed and created. 

These video games with the greatest leaps in innovation are still considered to be some of the best video games of all time.  Super Mario World by Nintendo created a comic character that earned his own television show.  Street Fighter changed the way boxing-style games were designed and programmed.  The Halo game introduced a brand new game console to the world and created a new world with its own cultures, peoples, and histories.  These top 10 games have had a permanent effect on the video game industry.  Understanding these innovations will help new game designers make their own innovations.

Video Game Violence Statistics

Violence in video games is a never ending debate.  Concerned parents argue that there are some things that simply should not be shown to children and teenagers, and they are absolutely right.  However, blaming the violence in schools on violence in video games is a misinterpretation of fact. 

The truth is, all video games are assigned a rating that explains to parents whether or not a video game is appropriate for their child.  Parents who disregard these ratings are risking exposing their child to dangerously influential violence that may have adverse effects on their child’s socialization and behavior.  While it is easier to blame the violence in schools on graphically violent video games, the real problem lies in parents who don’t concern themselves with regulating their children’s activities.

History of Video Game Consoles

Early video games were coin operated machines that were too large to have in the average American household.  Teenagers and young adults who wished to play video games were forced to go to a restaurant, bowling alley, or college campus where these large console games were located. 

 In the mid-1970s, the video game console was manipulated into a much smaller package size and marketed for individual purchase.  These early game consoles ran on battery power and often had an analog display system.  The games featured on these early consoles were very simple, but the future of individual game consoles was begun.

The Future of Video Games

In a few short decades, the video game industry has made technological leaps and bounds.  Video games are, today, highly sophisticated and beautiful works of art that are often indistinguishable from reality.  In the next decade, video games are projected to advance even more.  Some of these advancements may be particularly enticing to video game aficionados. 

The video game controller may completely disappear in a few years as more games rely on motion-capture technology for operation.  Health-related games may also increase in number as more parents try to improve the health of their children.  Cell phones and tablet computers will change the face of video gaming as well.

Children and Video Games

Children love video games.  They love to explore new worlds and experience new ideas.  Unfortunately, many parents believe that video games are inherently harmful to their children.  Some video games can actually be beneficial to children when appropriately regulated.  It is important to remember that video games in moderation have no ill-effects on children.

Benefits of Video Games

Educational and health-related video games are promising to change the minds of many concerned parents around the world.  With new video games featuring favorite children’s characters from books, movies and television, video games are actually assisting a child in his or her learning process.  Similarly, many new video games encourage physical activity and aerobic tasks that can improve the physical health of a child playing the game.  The Nintendo Wii requires motion to play its games.  Children can play virtual tennis, baseball, golf and other sports with a video game.

Are Video Games Harmful?

Video games are not inherently harmful.  It’s true that overexposure to video games can lead to adverse health effects.  This, however, is true for almost anything.  If parents are concerned about a child’s health and well-being, they need not abolish video games from the child’s life.  They need only to regulate a child’s exposure to video games.

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